Let's Dish With Linda Lou

Where You Taste The Love

SOCO Restaurant Thorton Park

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On Melissa’s last day before heading back to Oakland, CA., we went out for dinner. This time it was my turn to choose the place. I decided on SOCO RestaurantThorton Park. 

SOCO (Southern Contemporary Cuisine) takes classic southern fare and kicks it up a few notches. The atmosphere is trendy, cozy, with a lot of natural light. Let me take you on a quick tour of our experience.

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Our server Jordan and the hostess Tiffany were both very professional and courteous. They both helped to make our dining experience one we’ll remember. Thank you both so much!

As I passed by I noticed a small bio on the wall, one about the Chef Greg Richie and another about how old favorites have been reimagined.

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For our appetizers, we had House Smoked Fish Dip Gratin.

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Melissa had their Lake Meadow Naturals Deviled Eggs.

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Soco-Style Chicken and Dumplings.

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Slow Roasted Barbecue-Glazed Pork Belly On Grilled Biscuits Topped With Chow-chow.

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Grilled Meatloaf On Lobster Mash Potatoes.

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Diver Scallops With Roasted Baby Carrots And Brussel Sprouts.

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A Trio Of Banana Puddings, Chocolate, Bourbon, and Peanutbutter With A Vanilla Wafer Waffle.

For more information on SOCO Thorton Park in Orlando visit their website at http://www.socothortonpark.com

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Chicken And Dumplings With Vegetables

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What’s the definition of comfort food?, Chicken And Dumplings With Vegetables. It’s so comforting you’ll get warm fuzzies inside!

I do have to honest here, I didn’t make my own dumplings or this dish, I took some help from my local grocery store. I mean, making your own from scratch is probably best and can make all the difference in the world except if you’re like where the value of your time, store-bought dumplings are a quick alternative and a great time saver.

One ingredient that’s a staple in my frig is chicken fat. Steve loves to grill chicken thighs and doesn’t use the skin, he gives those to me. I render the chicken skin down and collect all the drippings (chicken fat) for recipes like, Matzo ball soup and this dish. The fat adds so much flavor by enhansing the chicken flavor thoughtout certain recipes. I’ll show you how I incorporate it.

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Flat Leaf Italian Parsley

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Shredded Chicken

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Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 35 minutes
Yields: 4 servings
Equipment: 1 (4-quart) saucepot with a tight-fitting glass lid, 1 (6-quart) stockpot

Ingredients:
1 tablespoon olive oil plus 2 tablespoons chicken fat (substitute 3 tablespoons of olive oil)
1 yellow onion, diced
3 carrots, diced
3 ribs celery, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
3 boneless skinless chicken breasts, poached and shredded
1 teaspoon of dried rosemary (crush up in your hand)
1 1/2 teapsoons of Kosher salt
1 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon of poultry seasoning
1 (10.5-ounce) can cream of chicken soup
1/2 package of Mary B’s Open Kettle Dumplings (12 ounces, break strips in half, freeze unused dumplings)
1 package frozen peas, optional
6 cups of chicken stock, unsalted
4 tablespoons of cornstarch
4 tablespoons of water
1/4 cup of finely chopped, fresh flat-leaf Italian parsley

Tip: While chicken is poaching, prep all the vegetables for this dish.

Directions For Poaching Chicken:
To start, place 3 boneless-skinless chicken breasts, in a single layer, 3 sprigs of fresh thyme, and a sprinkling of Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, into a large pot. Cover the chicken with either water or (I’m using) unsalted chicken broth. If the 1 quart of broth does not cover the chicken completely, add water so that it will cover the chicken by at least 1-inch.

Bring the chicken to a boil on medium-high heat. You’ll see some white scummy foam collecting on the surface as the liquid starts to boil.  Since I’m not using the poaching liquid for this recipe, there is no need to skim this off, it’s fine to leave it.

As soon as the liquid comes to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low, cover the pot, and let the chicken simmer. The chicken will typically finish cooking between 25 to 30 minutes depending on the thickness of the meat and whether it has a bone. The chicken breasts are done when they are opaque through the middle and an instant-read thermometer put into the thickest part of the chicken reads 165-degrees F.

Remove the chicken from the poaching liquid, transfer the cutting board, and begin shredding them using two forks, transfer to a bowl.

Directions For Frozen Dumplings:
Gently separate the dumplings right before adding them to the broth.

Directions For The Chicken And Dumplings:
In a small dice, dice the onions, carrots, and celery. Finely mince the garlic. In a large soup pot, heat olive oil, and chicken fat over medium heat. Add in all the vegetables, poultry seasoning, bay leaves, and rosemary. Season with Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper. Cook until the onions until they are soft and translucent, about 5 minutes.

Add cream of chicken soup to the pot and stir. Next, add the chicken broth (making sure to add enough broth to where it comes up to over the halfway mark in the soup pot), and give another good stir. Turn the heat to medium-high and wait until it returns to a boil. Once boiling, drop in the dumplings one by one. Let them boil in the soup, (45 minutes according to the package), stirring occasionally until they are all tender. Next, carefully fish out the two bay leaves.

Return cooked shredded chicken to the pot and gently stir through.

To Thicken Broth:
In a small bowl combine 4 tablespoons of corn starch with 4 tablespoons of water.
Add to the boiling broth, a little at a time, stirring to reach desired consistency. This is my Chicken And Dumplings With Vegetables.

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